Few times prior has a Below Deck franchise alum stayed in our minds after their tenure on the show. Dani Soares is one such person. She was cast as Second Stew on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2, alongside Chief Stew Daisy Kelliher and Alli Dore. The three worked well together, and Dani was especially appreciated for her work ethic and quiet charm.
Dani started an onboard romance with deck hand Jean-Luc Cerza Lanaux, and conceived a child on board. Jean-Luc protested, and demanded a paternity test during a solo reunion interview. It was finally confirmed that Lilly is indeed Jean-Luc’s child. And seven months after her birth, the deck hand finally acknowledged his child.
Captain Glenn Shephard, who oversaw the season on Parsifal III, is now speaking out on the relationship between the two parents. Good news, Jean-Luc is stepping it up as a dad.
Captain Glenn told Us Weekly, “I know that [Jean-Luc] has some involvement now with [his and Dani’s] baby. I heard that he’s setting up a college fund and that he talks to her regularly on zoom because they’re far apart. [Dani is] in Australia and his boat is in the states. He has to keep working obviously and I don’t think he can go to Australia and start a job.”
Captain Glenn had some critiques for his former deck hand, but also acknowledged that he is not operating on first-hand accounts of Jean-Luc’s behavior. He explained, “I was asking someone what’s his involvement because it’s been a while. Personally, I think he should do more. But I don’t know all the details. I’m not that close with them so I can’t really speak to it.”
Jean-Luc was initially resistant to the idea that he was the father of Dani’s child. He didn’t gain any fans among viewers and crew mates for shirking responsibility, questioning Dani’s word, and delaying a paternity test. At the time, In June 2021, Dani stated, “Let’s put it this way, This baby was made during the season while we had cameras 24/7 with us and I only slept with one guy. He hasn’t supported me at all in any way. He thinks it is not his child and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.”
Jean-Luc famously avoided the reunion, and instead recorded a message for Dani. “I want to be there for you,” he said, “Though you may not want anything to do with me cause of me asking you for a paternity test, that’s something I can get over. But what I can’t get over if this is my child is not being there for her.”
Jean-Luc then expressed some emotion for the Brazilian native. “Dani, what we had on the show for me was real,” he proclaimed, “I don’t care what anybody says, even now that we’re going through what we are going through. What I felt for you, and the time that we had, was genuine. Everything that I ever said to you was true. The fact that we are at where we are now, I am really sorry and I would assume to say that most of it is my fault.”
When Jean-Luc finally acknowledged daughter Lilly, he noted the steps he was taking to create a productive co-parenting relationship with Dani. At the time, he posted to social media, “I’m happy and proud to say sweet and beautiful Lilly Rose is my daughter. Dani and I have been working and communicating together to the best of our ability. This is imperative [to work out] for the sake of our daughter as she needs both parents in her life.”
Dani responded to Us Weekly, that “actions speak louder than words” suggesting that Jean-Luc has yet to follow through.
Based on Dani’s Instagram, it seems like she and Lilly are thriving together in Australia. The adorable baby goes to day care while her mommy is in nursing school.
As for how this happy ending started, Captain Glenn was asked to share his opinion on boat romances. More specifically, how he manages crew hookups on Parsifal III.
“It’s hard to manage because some boats don’t want to have anything to do with romance at all,” Captain Glenn said, “I don’t think that’s realistic because it’s gonna go on anyway. They’re gonna hide it and stuff like that. As long as they’re discreet, especially [in front of] the guests and in front of the crew, then great. But we don’t want any couples to bring their fights and issues into the crew mess because that really disturbs the vibe on the boat. As long as they deal with that correctly, then I’m kind of hands off until it gets out of hand.”
TELL US- WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JEAN-LUC’S INVOLVEMENT AS A PARENT? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE DANI OR JEAN-LUC?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]